Friday, November 4, 2011
Will you switch banks on Saturday?
The Occupy Wall Street movement has moved beyond just occupying parks to advocating the specific action of targeting big banks. One criticism of the "occupy" movement is that it didn't have clear goals to address their grievances. Unfocused anger was something to rally small groups of activists but would not have the broader impact of changing the injustice which they decried. "We are the 1%" was a nice slogan to define the problem but not to define a solution.
In an effort to move to the next level of activism the movement has now proposed their first action Saturday by declaring "bank switch day" encouraging people to switch their bank accounts from big banks to smaller local banks and credit unions. I doubt that many people will actually switch because of the hassles of switching banks but some movement in that direction could cause banks to re-think about how consumer friendly they are. The rescinding of the charge for using debit cards by Bank of American may not be much but it shows how quickly a bank's image can be impacted by negative press. Banks can't assume that consumers will accept any change they want to impose. We know that B of A will try to slip another less visible fee into their services when the uproar over the debit fee subsides.
So will I switch banks this weekend? Probably not but I have examined what impact switching would have on my banking needs. I might look at moving some of my accounts to a local credit union and only keeping some accounts at a big bank . The convenience of having ATM's and branches in many locations is a convenience that will cause me to accept banking practices I may not like.
Maybe the movement should extend its efforts to encourage all of us to support local merchants more and frequent large chains less. Changing where we spend our dollars is the only leverage we have if we feel that too many corporations have become "too large to fail." Maybe we should not look to the government to identify which corporations fit this category but use our own purchasing power to invest locally. Maybe our plan should be to only spend money this weekend with locally owned businesses. Make it a "No Chain Weekend."
Posted by duanestclair at 4:32 AM